NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Lewan came into the league as a gifted athlete with virtually all the qualities an NFL team seeks in a left tackle.

Except for a tendency to do some dumb stuff -- the sort that left fans with their hands on their heads and prompted Mike Mularkey to strip him of a captaincy during his second season playing in the league.

It left a lasting impression that did not help him even as he matured a great deal in his third year. He was flagged for a crucial, costly penalty late in a Week 3 loss to Oakland, when he launched himself into a pile to help receiver Tajae Sharpe and got an unnecessary roughness penalty that stalled what looked like it would be a late, game-tying drive. In Week 10, he was tossed out of the win over Green Bay early on for making contact with an official. Taylor Lewan with Wife and Daughter

Even with the two gaffes, he emerged as a key, dependable piece of an offensive line that did very well protecting Marcus Mariota and blocking for DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.

Mularkey’s faith played a big role, as did the first year with Pro Football Hall of Famer Russ Grimm working as Tennessee’s offensive line coach.

The top settling force, however, was Lewan’s fiancée, Taylin Gallacher. The couple’s daughter, Wynne, turns four weeks old Wednesday.

Gallacher sounds like a psychiatrist. She is not one, though she says a lot of people get the same vibe from her. Still, she clearly saw the issues that were holding Lewan back, both at work and at home, and she called him on them.

“Honestly, how it started is, he wanted to win me over as the girl in his life, and I was not having any of that,” she said after a recent training camp practice, her baby wrapped snuggly to her and sound asleep. “I was like, ‘I will be your friend.’ Because of the song and dance. I didn’t trust it, he was giving me a show and I didn’t care for the show. He puts on the best kind of show. Now I appreciate the show.

“He was so willing and able, he saw the direction his life was going, he just didn’t have the tools. And that’s from where he came from, it’s how we all are, it’s where we came from. As soon as he got the tools, he just took it and ran. He’s still running and he’s still growing. Having a daughter, she’s kind of taken over the next little bit of his growth here. Things plateau. I think it took six months to get those things ingrained in him, who he wanted to be and what he wanted to be and things just took off.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jurrell Casey’s second contract extension came with two years still left on his first.

The Titans talked of the defensive lineman as an exception to the usual rules for contract extensions.

He’s an excellent player who’s fully bought into what the team wants and does. He’s great in the community. He’s all they want.

With him locked up through 2022, who are the next priorities for new deals?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kevin Dodd’s held his current job for 458 days.

For some players in the NFL that’s a career. For a second-round pick who missed seven games as a rookie because of a stress fracture that required two surgeries, it’s not a lot.

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Really, I promise.

Impatient fans have backed off a bit as the Titans have gone three days into camp and Dodd is back on the field.

But the offseason was filled with unreasonable pronouncements – "Dodd’s a dud" – and demands – the Titans should be done with him.

He’s handled it with a great deal of grace. He appears to have the personality to endure it, unless he’s really good at putting up a front.

“It’s so easy for people to just write someone off,” he said. “High pick, not being able to do what you do from an injury. I’m excited to be out there. I’m just going to continue to get better every play and get back to it.

“I’m definitely not done. I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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Virtually every site seeks to maximize clicks. I’d like a lot of those, sure. But that’s not going to be the primary goal here.

Instead, it will be to super-serve a small and specific club: People who like me and or my work. People who want Titans' insight from someone who’s been around the team since before it moved to Tennessee, from someone who knows the key people from the present and past, from someone who’s well-respected by colleagues around the country, from someone who will ask the tough questions, unafraid of consequences. Readers who want to hear from someone who’s got a Pro Football Hall of Fame vote. From someone who can give you a combination of reporting, fast-reaction, quality features and strong insider opinion into the Titans, the NFL and more.

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